Exceptional Events

EVT 25 - What Can African Cities Do To Attract More And Better-Suited FDI (Foreign Direct Investment)?

23 Nov

23 November

11:30 to 13:30

Venue: Al Hoceima


African Development Bank Group

Tel: +225 2026 3900


Web: http://www.afdb.org/



Tel: +254 20 7621234

Email: infohabitat@unhabitat.org

Web: https://unhabitat.org/


In the global business environment, Africa competes at all levels. The industrial sector, construction sector, the services sector, and the agriculture and food industries all compete for market share and growth in a rapidly changing globally connected context. Cities are where the bulk of business contracts are negotiated and signed and profits gained. Cities are where people invest, work and live, and where dreams are materialized. The newly published The State of African Cities 2018 Report: the geography of African investment, developed by UN-Habitat, Wits University, Erasmus University and the African Development Bank, reveals pioneering work on the geography of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from world cities to African cities. It is the first international development report to investigate FDI flows at the city level - and explores the networks and clusters of different sectors of investment, the factors which attract it, as well as the impact of FDI on economic growth, employment and wage inequality. The report studies over 20 thematic topics. The session will focus on key findings on ways for Africa’s cities to attract the types of FDI that can support sustainable development. The focus of FDI at the city level is important considering that by 2030 half of Africa’s population will live in cities, possibly exacerbated by a form of rapid urbanization that is not coupled with matching socially inclusive economic growth. Therefore, investors into African cities can play a critical role in the region’s development, hereby taking into account SDG 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities, which recognizes the role of cities as productivity hubs that drive growth and attract investment. The session will start by a short key note presentation “Africa First? Findings and Discussion on the State of African Cities 2018 Report, by Prof. Wall, presenting key findings, challenges and recommendations - followed by a panel discussion and opening the floor for Q & A. The main objective of the session is to highlight and debate the findings of the report and other data on the roles of current FDI flows into African cities – and hereby recommend policy strategies that would suit Africa’s economic, social and environmental sustainability best. The panel members, who represent cities and urban organizations across the continent, will debate on envisaged opportunities and challenges faced in attracting FDI into different types and sizes of cities in Africa’s sub-regions. The session aims at concluding with a set of five top priorities which the participants agree as the most critical ones for cities to act on to attract types of foreign investments that can help push cities to sustainable development pathways




This session focuses on a panel discussion and exchange with the audience that will lead to guidance for decision-makers.

  1. i) A 20-minute key note presentation by the Report’s lead author, Prof. Ronald Wall.
  2. ii) A panel discussion based on the presentation, report’s recommendations and other data on what can be done for improved FDI into African cities.
  3. iii) Session conclusion on a list of five priority measures that cities in Africa should focus on to attract more and better FDI.